3/19/2014 8:05 P.M. ET
LaHair drawing attention with hot play at plate
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Bryan LaHair waited more than two weeks to step into a batter's box in a Cactus League game this spring. It took the first baseman only two games to give the Indians a glimpse of his potential at the plate.
Cleveland has taken things slow with LaHair, who is returning from September surgery on his left wrist. That has given the first baseman only the final two weeks of Spring Training to show the Tribe what he can offer off the bench. LaHair collected three hits against the Giants on Tuesday and added a double agianst the A's on Wednesday.
"You can't bottle it. It's hard to figure," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He's a guy that has limited reps and he leaned on a couple balls [Tuesday] night. And then all of a sudden, a guy feels good about himself."
The 31-year-old LaHair -- signed to a Minor League deal on Feb. 5 after playing in Japan last year -- is just happy to be feeling healthy again. The first baseman's wirst issues date back to 2012, when he declined rapidly in the second half after making the All-Star team with the Cubs. In 340 at-bats overall that season, LaHair had a .784 OPS with 16 homers and 40 RBIs.
LaHair gradually worked through a hitting program that finally called for game action this past weekend.
"I'm just trying to be aggressive," LaHair said. "I'm trying to test the hand, take good swings. I'm obviously battling through a little soreness, but that's going to be there. It's something I can handle, so I'm just trying to build each day, get stronger each day and try to gain a little confidence each day.
"I've been in pro ball now for about 11 years and I've never been on the [disabled list]. So it's been hard for me. I've been telling my mind to just stick to the plan the organization has. I'm not trying to rush anything. They don't want me to rush anything.
"The most important thing in the whole spring is to stay healthy, get healthy, get stronger and inch closer to 100 percent."
Herrmann sent to Triple-A in latest series of cuts
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Frank Herrmann might be a part of the Indians' bullpen this season, but the right-hander is not going to get that call for Opening Day. Herrmann will continue his comeback from Tommy John surgery with Triple-A Columbus to start the season.
On Wednesday, Cleveland optioned Herrmann, right-hander Preston Guilmet, lefty Colt Hynes and infielder David Adams to Triple-A, reducing the Tribe's big league camp to 42 players. Herrmann is less than one year removed from surgery on his right elbow, so the Indians stressed to him the importance of keeping the big picture in mind.
"His camp is a complete success," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Now, he just needs to go and enjoy getting back to his form and maybe even better than he was before. He's worked so hard the last year. We tried to make sure that he understood that, 'Hey, man, the next couple months or whatever, you should enjoy this.
"'You put in all that time last year out here in the hot sun and you put yourself in a position where you're working your way back to helping the Major League team. That should be enjoyable. I think he understands that."
Herrmann, who underwent Tommy John surgery on March 31 after injuring his elbow last spring, logged only 1 2/3 innings in Cactus League play this year, allowing six runs on eight hits (three home runs). On the surface, that is a discouraging showing, but Francona was impressed with what he saw from the hard-throwing right-hander.
"I was actually really encouraged," Francona said. "I think he was mad he gave up runs, which that's not surprising, but I thought there was a lot of power behind the fastball. He just needs to pitch. He's thrown two innings. He needs to spin his breaking ball and repeat pitches and work back to back. There's a lot left to do for him, but it's exciting, because it's getting close to where he's starting to compete and see the results."
Herrmann, 29, has a 4.26 ERA in 95 career games with Cleveland in parts of four seasons. Herrmann, Guilmet and Hynes will provide the Indians with a layer of depth for its bullpen. Adams, who was signed to a big league contract in December, hit .286 in 17 games this spring and will work as a utility man in Columbus.
"He's an interesting guy," Francona said of Adams. "He can give you a really good at-bat. He can play first, second and third. That's the idea. We'll try to continue to move him around, so if or when there's a need, he has the ability to do all three."
Marcum focused on big picture in Indians' camp
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Shaun Marcum came into camp this spring with hopes of competing for a spot in the Indians' rotation. With less than two weeks remaining until the start of the season, that no longer seems like a realistic scenario.
If Opening Day is not a possibility, Marcum still wants to stick with the ballclub.
"This organization has treated me well," Marcum said on Wednesday morning. "The training staff, the front office, coaching staff, the guys in the clubhouse. This is where I want to be, so we'll see what happens if that day comes. The main thing right now is to try to pitch for the Cleveland Indians."
The Indians signed Marcum to a Minor League contract on Dec. 16, giving him the opportunity to continue his comeback from July surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome. Cleveland put the 32-year-old veteran on a conservative throwing program that included working through his second live batting-practice session on Tuesday.
Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway was impressed with what he saw from the right-hander.
"He got a lot of swings and misses," Callaway said. "The two hitters that faced him said the changeup was really, really good. That's always kind of been his bread and butter. And he spun the ball well. His stuff is there. If he continues to improve with the life and command and the velo, we might have a pretty good pitcher on our hands."
Marcum went 1-10 with a 5.29 ERA in 14 appearances with the Mets last season before complications with his right shoulder led to the unique operation. Prior to last year, Marcum went 54-32 with a 3.67 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 148 games across his previous five seasons in the Majors.
Marcum, who can opt out of his contract if he does not make the Opening Day roster, wants to return to that kind of form as quickly as possible, but he knows better than to rush things during Spring Training.
"There's no frustration at all. I'm keeping the bigger picture in mind," Marcum said. "Talking to the trainers, I came out in January and we had a plan and we've stuck to it. That was the main thing, to try to stay healthy not only for this year, but to be able to play for another couple years."
Callaway has been pleased that Marcum has taken that view on the situation.
"The meaningful innings that we're going to get from him are going to come during the season," Callaway said, "and not necessarily whether he makes the team out of Spring Training. That's what we've been talking about. He's such a professional. That's kind of what he's done. That's been good to see."
Quote to note
"As long as guys are in camp [they have a chance to make the team]. We told guys that we'd talk to them when we think it's appropriate. I do think with Trevor, looking at the big picture is important. We really value this kid. We think at some point -- whether it's next week, or two weeks, or [longer] -- he's going to help us win games."
-- Francona, on Trevor Bauer's chances of winning a rotation job
• The Indians re-signed former pitching prospect Adam Miller on Tuesday, giving the right-hander another chance to come back from multiple finger surgeries. Miller, 29, is in Minor League camp and will continue to work as a reliever in the Tribe's system. The Indians selected Miller in the first round (31st overall) in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft.
"We believe in his perseverance and work ethic," said Ross Atkins, the Indians' vice president of player development, "and would like to see if we can help him in his progression to return to a Major League pitching prospect. We feel Adam has many intangibles as a professional pitcher beyond the previously mentioned attributes and we have not come across many individuals that are more passionate about the craft of pitching than Adam."
• Zach McAllister, Cleveland's No. 3 starter, endured a rough outing during the Indians' 12-11 victory over the Giants on Tuesday night. The big right-hander was charged with six runs on nine hits, including three home runs, and ended with four strikeouts, two walks and one wild pitch. Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said the box score did not tell the whole story.
"It was tough," Callaway said. "The first night game, everybody was just seeing the ball good and swinging the bat really well. I don't think he beat himself. They beat him. That's going to happen. His stuff was still coming out good and his velocity was good. He was up to 95 [mph]. It wasn't the most terrible thing in the world. Obviously, you don't want to get lit up, but I still thought it was encouraging."
• Bauer is slated to start and log five innings in a Minor League game during Thursday's off-day. Relievers Marc Rzepczynski, Josh Outman and John Axford are also scheduled to appear in a Minor League game Thursday. Righty Josh Tomlin was down for six innings in a Minor League game on Wednesday.
• Francona indicated that utility man Ryan Raburn (sore left knee) will likely be limited to designated-hitter duties for at least a couple days. Raburn served as the DH on Wednesday and is scheduled to garner a handful of at-bats in a Minor League game on Thursday.
• Indians center fielder Michael Bourn (left hamstring) and designated hitter Jason Giambi (fractured rib on his right side) both have not been cleared to resume any baseball activities yet, Francona said. Both players continue to receive treatment for their respective injuries.